There’s a question I have been asked a few times in the last year that I keep coming back to. Many have asked me, “how do you know God is real?” The first time it was asked, I stopped for a minute thinking they want to hear about some grand miracle that has happened. But when I really think about it, my answer is a miracle. The answer is:
Because of where my life was, to what it is now, is nearly two completely different people.
I have the same answer today because honestly God brought me from the pit and seated me with Him. He grabbed me and pulled me up and told me “You are my child.” The last three years for me moved so quickly. One minute I was working in marketing with what people would consider a good job and the next I was moving to Africa because I knew that I knew that God wanted me here.
Grace. Pure, raw grace. Jesus chased me down, set me in one spot, showered his love on me so I could see that this life was worth living.
Not that there needs to be an explanation for Jesus, but many have wondered what happened to me. I was a college athlete, a party girl, I never stayed in one spot long, I had two degrees, ‘I had it all,’ people would say. I was also severely depressed and hid it by being the outgoing party girl. How did that girl go to a girl who only wants to be with Jesus and be around what He wants?
The road leading to Africa, or better yet, where God wanted me, was long. I never knew God. I knew who He was but I didn’t know Him. I never had a relationship with Him. Throughout my life, I always made choices based on emotions. I made choices and did not care about the consequences. That’s why at the age of 24 I had been in jail twice for drinking and driving, once totaling my car. I was drinking daily, smoking, making all the wrong choices, and I didn’t care about relationships. Inside, I was just a little girl hurting from a past full of others sin and my own sin and bad choices. I thought God could never love someone like me.
When I arrived in Namibia, Africa in 2016, I wondered what I was even doing on a mission trip. Surely, I couldn’t do anything good because I had sinned so much. Little did I know how much that first week would change my life. I was introduced to the book of Ephesians by two people I now call family and I learned about my identity in Christ. I learned about the grace that Jesus Christ was. I learned that even though I had sinned, God still loved me. I learned that I was chosen, love, redeemed, adopted, and seated all because the message of what Jesus did was shared with me.
During my first few months in Namibia, I realized how much God cared about me. Although I’d heard that before, it really came to life in the desert of Africa. God brought me out of my life in America, brought me away from distractions, brought me out of my comfort zone to make me see that He had been there all along, all I needed to do was allow Him into my life. It was during that first time in Namibia that I came to know my position in Christ, my identity had forever changed. I went to Africa lost and broken, and during that time I realized I was the daughter of a King.
Once I had came to know the grace on my life, I also came to the realization that I could never go back to what my life was. I could never return to the old way of living. I prayed and I sought God. I prayed with others and I cried and prayed more. I had no idea what God had for me, but I knew it was something big. A verse I’ve always held on to was Ephesians 3:20:
“God can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.”
I realized God not only brought me to Africa to heal, but He put me there to be redeemed, to taste redemption in a way that I never knew was possible. God gave me more than I could have dreamed because of His goodness and faithfulness. I can never describe what happened to me three years ago, but sometimes I say that grace smacked me in the face and I’m still not over it.
I’ve lived more life in three years, experienced more joy than I thought possible, seen prayers answered over and over again, looked back in my life and saw God was there all along and i’ve seen miracles happen all because God sent His son to live and die for us. My life will never be the same again. I’ve also seen my story used in so many peoples lives that I can’t help but thank God for allowing me to be in the position I am with the ones who’ve helped me be the person I am. So when that questions is asked. “how do you know God is real?” My answer will always be, “Because I’ve seen Him, I’ve seen how He redeems, I’ve tasted His faithfulness and now I get to live because of it.”
Thank you, Jesus.